Tuesday 8 February 2022

Belated Bandcamps

Running a little behind schedule with this 'un - had a packed weekend for a change and just didn't get around to it is all! I am back with my promised Bandcamp scoops, big haul this time but a lot of it I've already talked about in the run up - Mehdi's MPC 2021 and Soichi Terada's Asakusa Light leading the charge. Still, among them there are a few fine EPs and other miscellany that are worth mentioning, let's have a see.
J. E. H. MacDonald - Lake McArthur, Yoho Park (1924)

First up, one of many EPs that got added to my list when I went on a big electro kick a while back. I try and pick up one every now and then just for variety. No Moon came recommended to me after picking up a Jensen Interceptor tune from the Craigie Knowes label, after hearing the excellently titled Exoplanet Vibe Cult I promptly stuck it on my wishlist (which would then expand several sizes and get a bit lost in the chaos). I'm always on the market for more Spacey stuff, and the title track from Infinite Dreamz instantly came into orbit in that zone as soon as I hit play. Extremely lush to begin with but don't let that fool you - it's not long before it gets counterpointed with some deliciously retro handclaps, and before long you find yourself in the final half or so with some surprisingly heavy kicks for garnish. If your taste is at all similar to mine the whole EP is worth a look, it's only 3 tracks but each one is a solid entry.

Somethin' a little more ambient next, it's been a while since I picked up any, and I had wishlisted some stuff from Hinako Omori a little while back when I was looking up artists from R&S's limited release In Order To Care compilation. Voyage is a lovely synth-drenched ambient EP. Recalling early Betrayed In The Octagon-era Oneohtrix Point Never, only it's not a Juno on show this time. I've got a deep love for ambient music anyway but that goes double for heavily synthesised pieces like Voyage - the synthetic otherworldly feel was what drew me into electronic music in the first place after all. The two tracks are lovely, delicate pieces: Teleport is the shorter of the two by quite a ways, but still uses its length to explore some interesting sounds: some distant vocals twin effortlessly with the synth swoops and other flourishes. Voyage> remains my favourite of them both though, it too has lots of little intricacies that make it perfect for repeat visits - I could live in its sonic ocean forever.

I also picked up HOME's Odyssey, an album you might know of from the track Resonance Meeting at the intersection of Vaporwave, Chillwave and Synthwave, it's a record that carries with it quite the reputation, almost a relic of those albums from the 90's that you've heard without knowing you've heard it, like Moby's Play for example. That's partially why I held off on actually getting it for so long if I'm honest - I took a break from those genres ages ago while the dust settled. It is true that HOME has a formula here that every track can pretty much be broken down into, but I'd be lying if I said the end result wasn't catchy, and for a minimum price of $2 it's a bit of a steal. I've gone with a deeper cut than the usual ones you might hear when the album's discussed, one of the bonus tracks included in this re-release. A previously unreleased demo, you can certainly hear the influence of other synthwave releases here on Soak in particular - it sounds a little like the tunes Jasper Byrne was making for Hotline Miami, albeit with a softer edge.

And finally some Tofubeats. I've had bits and pieces from him from various compilations over the years but never really followed up on them, before ending up on my BC wishlist from one of the many deep dives I did however long ago. TB's Bandcamp is an odd one, it looks like there's a lot there, but you'll find that most of the 'releases' are just placeholders and can't actually be bought - some of them look like they were for sale in the past and now aren't as well, among other mysteries. Still, scattered among them are some that you can still pick up, and for fairly cheap too given the exhange rate for Yen. Touch is one of a few that I found and added to the cart this time around, and one I think shows off TB's production side very well indeed. I've picked out Touch E for just that reason as well, it's an instrumental edit of Touch A that appears both on this EP and on TB's album Lost Decade. Tofubeat's style is an interesting fusion of J-Pop and Hip Hop, one that could be potentially alienating at times - for example on Touch A the beats are paired with this hyper pitched up vocal which I can go wither way with depending on the day. So I've gone ahead and chosen Touch E, which is an instrumental version of A to really give TB's production time to shine - and it really does shine on this one.

And that'll be all for this time, apologies for the slight delay on the roundup, I got a little sidetracked. Through the thick of it now though, so there shouldn't be any hassle in the near future. Hope you've found some things in here to interest you, even if it was a little eclectic! A bit of a return to form actually when you put it that way. The wishlist is always growing so be sure to tune in again next month for another cross section of tunes, until then - as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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